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tomangoes

Rare and Northern Soul - so what's the difference?

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There are probably 500 answers to this or just as many as people reply. For me Rare Soul is just about how rare the record is (the infamous "only 3 known copies" brigade) with quality of the tune coming second. With Northern it (should) be the other way around although having said that there are some humdingers in NS that should be in the trash can. Get ready for a very short or very long thread :)

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They’re one in the same really, but my definition - If I was to see A ‘Northern Soul’ event advertised, I would expect the music to be mostly records that most of the punters knew (and loved)……Whereas if I saw an event advertised as a ‘Rare Soul’ event, I would expect the music to be mostly rarely heard tunes, and hopefully those being good soul records - Some rare in the true sense of the word / some rarely heard.

Great post Chris L - I may not entirely agree, but over the years there have been cases of ‘Non-descript Northern’ being played simply because it is rare - All in the name of being creative (Which I can forgive!)

498 answers left :D

All the best,

Len :thumbsup:

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There are probably 500 answers to this or just as many as people reply. For me Rare Soul is just about how rare the record is (the infamous "only 3 known copies" brigade) with quality of the tune coming second. With Northern it (should) be the other way around although having said that there are some humdingers in NS that should be in the trash can. Get ready for a very short or very long thread :)

Loathed as i am to be drawn in - here goes.Chris,if a rare record is crap it shouldn't and usually doesn't get played.I've heard this "only 3 known but its crap" before. Quality coming second.? Records are "tried out" ,maybe some fall by the wayside,but quality always shines through.Whats the saying - you can fool some people some of the time etc etc...? The Rare Soul scene is one of striving to keep it fresh and exciting,many records considered "rare soul" are now breaking on through to the other side.So,basically the Rare Scene are not happy with sitting back on the NS laurels.Wether that means dipping back into the archives,then so be it.The NS Top 500 Crowd,are happy to hear the classics in general.Nowt wrong with that ,like the Oldies myself.So there's no right or wrong,good or bad.Life's to short.

 

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Any definitive words of wisdom in the topic question?

Ed

Always thought it was one of the same, up until the phrase northern soul was coined, it was the rare soul scene!....as for the records played being rare that is also a matter of conjecture, are they rare through scarcity of amount eg The Royal Esquires - Ain't gonna run, was thought to be quite rare until a load were discovered does that mean it stopped being rare and became just northern!?

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Rare and underplayed gives you the option of playing underplayed non rare of course which i like. And you never hear the term "Rare and overplayed" :D

Rare is the most over used term out there, records of which there are hundreds floating about described as "rare" left right and centre.

 

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Rare and underplayed gives you the option of playing underplayed non rare of course which i like. And you never hear the term "Rare and overplayed" :D

Rare is the most over used term out there, records of which there are hundreds floating about described as "rare" left right and centre.

 

:lol:

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Both the same.  But Northern Soul now deemed divvy by many and many would prefer to disassociate themselves from the revivial, retro scene.  Rare also used to distinguish a venue from your classic type event. 

As for quality......there has been god knows how much crap played in under the Northern Soul banner so how anyone can knock the "rare scene" is beyond me :D

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To me Northern soul is about the dancing scene, rare scene is original records that are difficult to obtain; there can be some crossover with rare tunes also being a dancer, but rare dancers are often bootlegged so you get to hear the tunes played out at some events but just not on OVO.  

Most people will think there are crap tunes in both camps because everyone's taste differs. It is the soul ballads being played at Northern events that I struggle with, I often like the ballads when driving the car as they de-stress me when stuck in traffic but hate them played out at a venue. :hatsoff2:

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I don't know why but i can distinguish a tune that sounds like rare soul to me... I think it's the production which usually is worst and than the record gets less ejoyable for the public and therefore obscure/rare... i prefer going to the rare room actually

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my take has always been that rare soul = rare original press soul records, with limited availability and often expensive because of that (if they're any good).

northern soul is a scene, anything played on it is northern soul, whether it's a actually a soul record or not, and it is not all rare. I have always firmly believed that northern soul is a scene not a style of music.

cheers Sutty

 

 

Edited by Sutty

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They used to be the same thing, until recently all my friends and acquaintances would say we're into Northern Soul. When we were going to Wigan, Palais, Oddfellows, Stafford, Guys Soultown, Shotts, Bradford QH, Clifton Hall, 100 Club etc we always had in mind these were Northern Soul scene Allnighters. All were about the next big new discovery, underplayed re activations and the odd quality oldie.

However recently, big money making promoters ( and imitators) have created a product that plays circa 100 records from a very small period of the scene history to a crowd (in line with their demand of what they know) who have limited experience of the scene (they might have done a few years at the Torch, Wigan etc or have recently joined but little beyond that until recently) which has in effect hijacked the title Northern Soul but has little resemblance to the scene over its 45 plus years. 

so Rare soul - the true Northern Soul scene has distanced it self from this nostalgia scene, has let them have the term Northern Soul which in my opinion they have bastardised, to distance ourselves from that commercial, limited offering so we call our scene anything but Northern Soul. 

Edited by Byrney

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my take has always been that rare soul = rare original press soul records, with limited availability and often expensive because of that (if they're any good).

northern soul is a scene, anything played on it is northern soul, whether it's a actually a soul record or not, and it is not all rare. I have always firmly believed that northern soul is a scene not a style of music.

cheers Sutty

 

 

I agree mate, especially with the range of musical styles now played under the northern soul banner. Its been a long time since sixties uptempo danceable music was the only style played on the scene, thats if it WAS ever the preserve of just uptempo records at all, Sapphires Gotta Have Your Love, Du-ettes Every Beat Of my Heart, Celeste Hardy etc. hardly uptempo.

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Cheers

Obviously there's no definitive answer that would be agreeable to all.

The two terms are joined at the hip, even in this forum description.

On a personal level I like 'Byrney's' overview.

Rare soul has drifted into the 'elitist' faction, more than ever. However to be Rare Soul, it has to be both Rare and Soul. That still includes thousands of tunes, NOT all great!

Northern Soul includes Rare Soul records, but essentially, anything goes. Maybe it always has.

Several respected DJ's have all stated that one persons favourite Northern soul record can be another persons most hated.  A common denominator has always been you can dance to it, and it feels soulful. How 'Scratchy' and 'Wully bully' fit both requirements is beyond me, but for sure at some events like 'Soul in the Sun' they pack the floor!

Indeed it could be argued that lots of money is made by record dealers on the 'Rare Soul' scene, but that pales into insignificance to the money been made on the 'hugely commercialised  Northern Soul scene'.

Inevitably both scenes have to live side by side, but for me anyway they are not the same.

Ed 

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Very different scenes these days. I remember being at a large oldies event, lets just say what some would call "the bagged trousered brigade" out in force, beers towels, hats, holdalls, white sox the lot. And a "Worst of Wigan" soundtrack from the DJS - every DJ playing Mickey moonshine, Kiki Dee etc. I distinctly remember thinking "what the hell am I doing here? Never again, I have got nothing in common with these people whatsoever".

But then again I haven't been out to too many rare soul do's either recently…maybe just becoming a grumpy old man LOL 

Edited by Steve G

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The Differences are : Fives minutes and that was the day on Mon'ca

Awesome double hitter, "That was the day" sweet soul heaven, so obviously appealing to two sets of collectors, demand therefore way outweighing supply

Kev

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Rare soul exits in every facet of the scene.  Rare sh*t also exists in every facet of the scene. Rare soul doesn't describe the records. It is as said used to differentiate those that move forward and look for something different and those that prefer to look backwards.

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Question. How do you differentiate between northern soul and rare soul or r n b soul or popcorn soul or oldies or newies or sixties newies or what else pigeon hole you want to make up. Probably 99% of people on here don't give a toss what it's called. I don't. I go out enjoy my self then go home, if I don't enjoy myself I go somewhere else next  time. Simple really. 

Steve

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In the Eighties Northern Soul was classed has Rare Soul because the folk on the scene then had their bellyfull of overplayed oldies.Present day most folk I know who was into the Eighties rare soul scene,guess what you don't see them present day.I wonder why.........Rare Soul doesn't mean obscure either.

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was classed as rare soul as in the 80s a lot more records being broke were covered up and nobody knew what it was.just sounds better than yet to be discovered soul or 60s newies or however it got pigeon holed by people.some great records discovered post wigan kept the scene ticking over in the 80s /90s .stafford and tonys for example great nights top tunes.

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Very different scenes these days. I remember being at a large oldies event, lets just say what some would call "the bagged trousered brigade" out in force, beers towels, hats, holdalls, white sox the lot. And a "Worst of Wigan" soundtrack from the DJS - every DJ playing Mickey moonshine, Kiki Dee etc. I distinctly remember thinking "what the hell am I doing here? Never again, I have got nothing in common with these people whatsoever".

But then again I haven't been out to too many rare soul do's either recently…maybe just becoming a grumpy old man LOL 

had similar experience at tiffanies niter, about 87,I didn't mind oldies, but Barbara mills 3 times in one night, time for sharp exit at 6 am n a 6hr train journey home, made me appreciate the other niters I was frequenting. 

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had similar experience at tiffanies niter, about 87,I didn't mind oldies, but Barbara mills 3 times in one night, time for sharp exit at 6 am n a 6hr train journey home, made me appreciate the other niters I was frequenting. 

strange as it might seem though, I did a handful of oldies nighters in the 80s when nowt else was on and the playlists it's true we're limited but you would hear things like Vincent Apollo thrown in or underplayed tracks like Pat Lewis No One To Love. So although they were limited they were way ahead of today's nostalgia scene. 

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was classed as rare soul as in the 80s a lot more records being broke were covered up and nobody knew what it was.just sounds better than yet to be discovered soul or 60s newies or however it got pigeon holed by people.some great records discovered post wigan kept the scene ticking over in the 80s /90s .stafford and tonys for example great nights top tunes.

agree with all of that however I don't recall anyone calling the scene rare soul back then, you mention Stafford and Tonys; did a bit of traveling back then with Guy who was key to both venues and he always called the scene Northern Soul back then. Perhaps pockets called it both terms but to my circle it was always Northern Soul.

 

Edited by Byrney

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sounds like I had it easy then,haha. 

Very different scenes these days. I remember being at a large oldies event, lets just say what some would call "the bagged trousered brigade" out in force, beers towels, hats, holdalls, white sox the lot. And a "Worst of Wigan" soundtrack from the DJS - every DJ playing Mickey moonshine, Kiki Dee etc. I distinctly remember thinking "what the hell am I doing here? Never again, I have got nothing in common with these people whatsoever".

But then again I haven't been out to too many rare soul do's either recently…maybe just becoming a grumpy old man LOL 

Well byrney, sounds like I had it easy, loved the atmosphere o oldies niters when younger, but at that particular moment, thought nope,time to go. 

Edited by tenuate
spelling error

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The 'Rare' bit has very little to do with the actual price of a record played within this context, its more about that rare thing found within the grooves & the obscurity of most of the records played.....before the term Northern Soul, it was always known as Rare Soul, the term has been used again since the 8ts, mostly to differentiate between them & us.

Its only relatively recently that the term has began to be used by the militant nostalgia whores as an insult....its a badge that I wear with pride !!!, anything that seperates the 'real' scene from that pantomime is fine by me, funny thing, is you very raely ever get any of those folk posting on forums like this, mostly because on the whole they are clueless by comparison......please someone from the nostalgia scene come & try & defend it, at least it would show some passion......& we could have a reasonable debate & possibly try & understand each other.

I would also add the oldies scene of today, with a few exceptions, is a totally different beast to the oldies scene from '76 - until say a decade ago. I personally dont have a problem with an oldies scene per se, as any decent All Nighter will have to have a large percentage of oldies these days, along with some lesser knowns & hopefully some new ish discoveries, its more the type of oldies & the attitude of the majority of people attending said events.

Best Russ

Edited by Russ Vickers

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To me Northern soul is about the dancing scene, rare scene is original records that are difficult to obtain; there can be some crossover with rare tunes also being a dancer, but rare dancers are often bootlegged so you get to hear the tunes played out at some events but just not on OVO.

Most people will think there are crap tunes in both camps because everyone's taste differs. It is the soul ballads being played at Northern events that I struggle with, I often like the ballads when driving the car as they de-stress me when stuck in traffic but hate them played out at a venue. :hatsoff2:

It depends again on your interpretation of a ballad....there have been many beat ballads & mid tempo soul records played on the scene, going back to day one....I just wouldnt expect to hear an entire set of them at 4am, although some slipped in can create a huge atmosphere & be quite anthemic...creating that 'Loved Up to Fcku' kinda vibe....which when it works for the DJ, is an amazing feeling in a venue...altho probably works better in a more intimate venue or one that is totally rammed...

 

Edited by Russ Vickers

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I think it's probably already been answered, but I take 'rare soul' to mean rarely played or underplayed as opposed to northern soul events, where pretty much everything played is well known. You can get very rare records at a northern soul event, but I'm betting they won't be rarely played out. 

I think 'rare soul' has just become a label now for a night to use to differentiate itself from an northern soul oldies night. 

I think if you go to a 'rare soul' night these days you can probably expect a bit more funk and gospel than you would at a northern night.

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And another thing..........why advertise a night as "rare and underplayed" ,,,when its not.!! Whoever coined that expression wants thrashing with a stick.:wicked:

Edited by KevH
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And another thing..........why advertise a night as "rare and underplayed" ,,,when its not.!! Whoever coined that expression wants thrashing with a stick.:wicked:

With the increased number of "rare and underplayed" events how long before tunes become "rare and OVERplayed", oops sorry that's the northern scene, holy moly its confusing, when all people want to do is go out and listen to some tunes they like..

Edited by Kegsy

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...creating that 'Loved Up to Fcku' kinda vibe....which when it works for the DJ, is an amazing feeling in a venue...

 

Eh? Blimee Russ you old dog, didn't think most "soulies" did that kinda ting man…. :lol:

Edited by Steve G

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Eh? Blimee Russ you old dog, didn't think most "soulies" did that kinda ting man…. :lol:

you should have seen downstairs at Bradford then Steve, seasoned stompers doing that man hug thing a plenty :) :) 

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As I said to byrney, mb am spoiled back in mid 80s had it all good oldies. Venues Keele my fave, shotts in its last cpl o yr (that's a personal thing) I wasn't receptive to change, but when I see video o blackpool etc, I can see why folk get peed off wi ystryear stuff the retro gear etc Keele early 90s not mid 80s,

Edited by tenuate
spelling error

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Keele was the beginning of the end.  Great big venue, good laugh and a great record bar BUT the music suddenly went back a decade and after what we had become accustomed too it was really disappointing.

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Keele was good laugh, remember seeing someone wandering about wi an small inflatable elephant, Crewe afterwards in a working man club if memory serves me right was also good crack, getting back up the road at 1 am not so great 

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